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Utopia - Oblivion CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.46 | 32 ratings

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3 stars Both UTOPIA and TODD RUNDGREN were beginning to lose relevance in the '80s, coyly keeping one foot in the pop camp and another in the new wave scene. "Oblivion" marked the beginning of the end for UTOPIA, relegated to yet another minor label (Passport) that struggled to get the word out. Although half of the material here would compare favorably to their last two records, it's a shortage of good ideas that ultimately defines the album. The opening "Itch In My Brain" is very catchy, but UTOPIA played this card already with "Hammer In My Heart." Likewise, it's an old formula at work on the ballads "Maybe I Could Change", "If I Didn't Try" and "I Will Wait." The energetic rockers are a shade better, with "Too Much Water" and "Crybaby" wisely selected to represent this album for Trivia. Medium-tempo, quirky tunes like "Love With A Thinker" and "Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw" round out this tepid affair. While fans who enjoyed "Swing To The Right" and their eponymous followup from 1982 will find "Oblivion" reassuringly familiar, the lack of inspiration might be mildly alarming. It's pretty much a given that any RUNDGREN/UTOPIA album will deliver at least one good ballad plus some catchy, quirky, playful pop tunes. That "Oblivion" doesn't deliver more is why some critics have panned it. H

onestly, only UTOPIA's first album, Trivia, and Redux '92 get fewer spins on my stereo than this album. If you must own it (and I'm not recommending you don't), buy "Oblivion" after you've picked up everything from "Another Live" to their last record, UTOPIA; otherwise, you're cheating yourself. Note that this appears to have gone out of print in the '80s, but I'm sure there are plenty of folks who'd be willing to sell you their copy.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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